Stretching from north to south between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, lies an arc of tropical island gems ringed by turquoise seas and sandy beaches. Uplifted by ancient volcanic forces, verdant, lush Caribbean rainforests cloak many of these sun-kissed islands, while those with limestone soils feature seasonally dry forest. Due to their relative isolation from any large landmasses, these islands host a highly threatened collection of birds found nowhere else in the world. Collectively, there are thirty Lesser Antilles endemics plus forty-five or so Caribbean specialties.

“It was obvious that Ryan and given the itinerary a lot of consideration. Highlights: Imperial Parrot on Dominica, seeing Sperm Whales for the first time, and boating and snorkeling Bequia and other islands.” — Janine DeMartini, 2023 Traveler

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy the natural beauty and scenery of these tropical island paradises not often visited by birders or naturalists
  • Search for over endemic bird species found only in the Lesser Antilles, including Grey Trembler and Purple-throated Carib
  • Sample the rich and flavorful fusion cuisines of the islands, each having a different set of traditional dishes
  • Support the conservation of critically endangered species with your visit and use of local guides
  • Marvel at up to four spectacular endemic Amazona parrot species, including St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Imperial, and Red-necked
  • Relax in the afternoon by snorkeling in the turquoise waters or merely strolling along “postcard perfect” sandy beaches

Trip Itinerary

Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.

Tues., Dec. 3          Arrivals in St. Lucia

Welcome to St. Lucia! Please arrive today by 4:00 PM. You are met at the airport on arrival and transferred to Balenbouche Estate. We kick off the trip tonight with a welcome dinner, getting to know our guide and fellow participants, and learning about the plans for tomorrow and the trip to come.
Accommodations at Balenbouche Estate or similar (D)

Wed., Dec. 4 – Sat., Dec. 7        Four Days Exploring St. Lucia

There are few islands in the Caribbean with such a variety of diverse habitats as St. Lucia. From its mountainous interior and lush rainforests positively teeming with tropical flora and fauna, to its dry broadleaved forests and palm fringed coasts, the first island on our tour provides numerous opportunities to experience the unparalleled beauty of the islands!

Over the next four days, we delve into the island’s signature natural attraction, the sprawling expanse of the Des Cartiers Rainforest, for an audience with the stunningly beautiful St. Lucia Parrot, songster extraordinaire Rufous-throated Solitaire, near-endemic Grey Trembler, Lesser Antillean Flycatcher, and minuscule Lesser Antillean Euphonia, brilliant Green-throated Carib, omnivorous Pearly-eyed Thrasher and cautious Scaly-naped Pigeon. We visit the historic Castries Market, a bustling epicentre of trade in produce from islands across the region (in 2020 it was ranked in the top three best food markets in the world by National Geographic). We make time to bird a remarkable ridgeline in the shadow of the iconic twin peaks of Les Pitons for close encounters with dainty St. Lucia Warbler, resplendent St. Lucia Oriole, and secretive Bridled Quail Dove. Visiting the quaint seaside village of Dennery, we have an opportunity to witness the intense bartering culture practiced by generations of local fishermen lining the pier in anticipation as boat crews return in small single-motor skiffs with line-caught marlin, tuna, and mahi-mahi. This sustainable small-scale fishing industry has existed unchanged for over a century.

Venturing into the coastal dry-forest, we can expect sighting of the near-endemic and highly threatened White-breasted Thrasher, endemic St. Lucia Black Finch and inquisitive Mangrove Cuckoo. We also meander along the island's breath-taking coastlines at dawn where we are treated to the spectacular aerial displays of Red-billed Tropicbird and enjoying prime views of foraging Antillean Crested Hummingbird, St. Lucia Pewee, Black-faced Grassquit, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, and Tropical Mockingbird. At dusk, we trace the haunting call of the St. Lucia (Rufous) Nightjar to its perch above the surrounding dry savannah.
Accommodations at Balenbouche Estate or similar (B,L,D)

Sun., Dec. 8 – Tues., Dec. 10       Three Days Exploring Dominica

With its seemingly innumerable waterfalls and a river for every day of the year coursing through its vast tracts of primary rainforest, Dominica is an island renowned for its outstanding natural beauty.

We travel deep into the heart of montane forest for a treasured encounter with one of the most critically endangered species on the planet: the majestic Imperial Parrot. Recent estimates suggest as few as 50 remain. These magnificent unspoilt forests and the expanse of low lying woodland beneath are also home to the island’s other endemic Amazona, the Red-necked Parrot, along with the glorious Blue-headed Hummingbird, Plumbeous Warbler, and Lesser Antillean Pewee, as well as regional endemics such as the brazen Lesser Antillean Saltator, imposing and impressive Purple-throated Carib, Scaly-breasted Thrasher, and the mesmeric Brown Trembler.

Dominica provides us with unparalleled opportunities to hike along riverine valleys teeming with over 50 species of butterfly (including regional endemics) and swim in natural pools beneath pristine waterfalls. We take to the seas for a whale watching cruise, on which possibilities include migrating Humpback and Dominica’s resident population of Sperm Whale! We also board a small craft and travel up a mangrove-lined river in search of a host of wetland-dwelling species, ending our time amongst the mangroves in true Caribbean fashion—with a sample of Dominican ‘Dynamite Bush’ rum!
Accommodations at The Tamarind Tree Hotel or similar (B,L,D)

Wed., Dec. 11 – Fri., Dec. 13       Three Days Exploring St. Vincent

The gateway to the Grenadines and the southern isles of the Lesser Antilles, St. Vincent is renowned for its black volcanic sand beaches and lush mountainous terrain, the forests of which harbour the last remaining populations of some of the rarest species to be found in the region.

Atop a fern-lined ridgeway, we gaze in awe as dozens of majestic St. Vincent Parrot abandon their roosts at dawn and begin to feed on fruiting figs and quench their thirst from dangling magnolia flowers. Our exclusive access to this privately owned land, known to only a select few forestry officers, ensures we have the entire morning in the company of this magnificent species! We meander along the trail network that dominates the slopes of majestic La Soufriere, all the while listening for the tell-tale call of the aptly named Whistling Warbler—among the rarest warblers in the world and endemic to this tiny island nation. Settling down on a dry river bed that scythes its way through lush primary forest, we scan the surrounding vegetation for the St. Vincent (Lesser Antillean) Tanager, near-endemic Grenada Flycatcher, Spectacled Thrush, and endemic subspecies of Antillean House Wren. We also scan the skies above for the powerful Common Black Hawk. We make time to take a dip in the tranquil waters of the Caribbean Sea at our local family-run beachside hotel, and enjoy dining at sunset to a backdrop of swaying masts of yachts moored off Young Island. Enjoy your morning coffee on the restaurant balcony while enjoying flybys of Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Noddy, Little Blue Heron, and Brown Booby. Our time in St. Vincent ends aboard a private yacht on an unforgettable day’s voyage across glistening turquoise seas to Bequia—the Island of the Clouds—where we snorkel pristine coral reefs in the presence of turtles, rays, and a plethora of other marine life. The residents of this tiny island have been welcoming those who have been fortunate enough to grace its shores for generations, and make it feel like a home away from home.
Accommodations at Beachcombers Hotel or similar (B,L,D)

Sat., Dec. 14      Departures

This morning we’ll enjoy a leisurely Caribbean breakfast, followed by a final dip in the sea before boarding pre-arranged airport transfers for your departures from Argyle International Airport. (B)

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    St. Lucia

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    Purple-throated Carib

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    Green Turtle

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    Dominica beach

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot
  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    St. Vincent Sunset

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    Canaries, St. Lucia

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    American Golden Plover

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    St. Lucia

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    Mangrove Cuckoo

  • Birding Lesser Antilles, Bird watching, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Endemic Birds, Birding Hotspot

    Bamboo Bridge, St. Vincent

Cost of the Journey

Cost of the Journey is $7390 DBL / $7990 SGL, based on double occupancy, per person. The tour price includes airport transfers, all flights between islands and internal ferry and boat charges, 11-night accommodations, all meals as stated in the itinerary, park admission fees, hotel and restaurant service charges, and guide fees. Cost of the journey does not include airfare from your home to St. Lucia and from St. Vincent, or items of a personal nature, such as drinks from the bar, telephone, and local guide gratuities (at your discretion, we will give some guidelines).

Travel Details

Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed.

Arrival Airport: Hewanorra International (UVF) in St. Lucia


Arrival Details: Please plan flights to arrive December 3, 2024, no later than 4:00 PM.


Departure Airport: Argyle International (SVD) in St. Vincent


Departure Details: Please plan flights to depart December 14, 2024 at your leisure. (We suggest mid-morning flights or later.)


Travel Tips: This is a gorgeous part of the world and you may wish to combine some leisure time with our journey. If you plan to arrive early, we can book you an early night at our first night tour hotel, Balenbouche Estate, at an additional cost. If you want to plan something on your own, we will work with you to connect on our meet-up and drop-off plans.


Entry Requirements: US residents do not need a visa for a tourist visit of this length. However, you must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond your date of country exit and with one blank visa page.

  • Chris Harbard

    Chris Harbard is a well-known British ornithologist and conservationist who now lives in SE Arizona. After 24 years working with the world’s largest bird conservation organisation, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, he moved to the Austrian optics company Swarovski and managed their birdwatching website for several years. He is now a freelance author, editor, broadcaster and lecturer, as well as an occasional bird guide in SE Arizona where he and his wife help to run the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival. He is on the board of the Arizona Field Ornithologists.

    Chris writes for Birdwatch magazine and was editor of the Birdwatchers' Guides series of books. His own books include Birdwatch, Songbirds, A Birdwatcher's Quizbook, A First Guide to Birdwatching.

    Working as a naturalist lecturer on board expedition cruise ships for the last eighteen years has taken him to remote areas of the Arctic, Antarctic, Atlantic and Pacific. Although his main area of interest is birds, especially seabirds, he also enjoys a range of other wildlife such as cetaceans, butterflies, dragonflies and plants.

    Other trips with Chris Harbard

Map for Lesser Antilles Endemics: A 3-Island Classic

Essential Information +

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have Read more

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have the best experience possible. If you only read one section, this one is key!

Ahead of Your Tour

  • Make sure your passport will be valid at least six months after the date of your scheduled return to the U.S. No Visas are required for U.S. citizens for stays of this length in Lesser Antilles. If you are from another country, please contact the Embassy of the French West Indies website for guidelines.
  • Please check current CDC recommendations for travel to the three islands included on this tour, and consult with your doctor about general travel vaccinations you should have as precaution for travel. See the “General Health and Inoculations” section below.
  • Travel insurance in case of serious medical emergency is strongly recommended. Full health coverage and repatriation is available through Allianz Travel Insurance.
  • Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Pack essential medications in your carryon luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.

Arrival into Hewanorra International (UVF), St. Lucia

Please note: If you are delayed in travel, please refer to your emergency contact list, and contact your ground operator, with a copy to our office. You may also phone or text your guide. Quite a few of your guides will set up a WhatsApp connection so you can also reach your guide by phone.

Please plan to arrive by 4:00 PM at the Hewanorra International (UVF) in St. Lucia. The airport is welcoming, and it should not be difficult to pass through immigration, collect your luggage and pass-through customs before exiting to the public areas.

We will coordinate your pick-ups close to your departure with operators and guides once we have all travelers completed travel information. Please make sure we have both your ARRIVAL and DEPARTURE information, so they can plan this. It is imperative that we have your correct TRAVEL information; we appreciate if you email us a copy of your flight reservation. They will check internet for your updated flight information.

Your guides will meet you and they may come inside to meet you, holding a sign, or they may be just outside the main doors at the curb looking for you. We have asked them to wear binoculars to help identify themselves and you can help them by doing so also. If for any reason you do not find them, you can get on the Wi-Fi or cell to check for messages.

You will kick off the trip with a welcome dinner, getting to know our guide and fellow participants, and learning about the plans for the days to come.

Please check the Travel Details section of this tour for additional information and updates.

Departures from Argyle International (SVD), St. Vincent

Please plan departures from Argyle International (SVD). You have to be at the airport about three hours ahead of your scheduled flight on this return, so please plan flights after noon. If it is easier or more convenient to fly back home from St. Lucia, an extra charge will be added for the flight from St. Vincent to St. Lucia.

We will provide transfers or arrange for taxis to the airport for all departures as needed for the departure day. Whenever possible we will keep the group together for this transfer.

The departure fee is now typically built into your airline fare.

Please check the Travel Details section of this tour for additional information and updates.

Passports, Visas & Documents

Guidelines and regulations can change. It is always advisable to double-check the country’s documentation requirements 60-90 days ahead of traveling. If you are from another country, please contact the French West Indies embassy website for guidelines. Information for U.S. citizens can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/FrenchWestIndies.html. If you are from another country, please contact the tour destination’s embassy website for guidelines.

You must have a passport that is in good condition and is valid for six months AFTER your scheduled return to the U.S. You should have at least one blank page per stamp. The blank pages need to say “Visas” at the top. Pages marked “Amendments and Endorsements” will not be accepted.

At the time of writing, a tourist visa is not required for stays of this tour's duration. You will need proof of a return ticket. The necessary documents will be distributed by your airline while in flight or provided for you upon arrival. We advise that you bring your eContact list of hotels for use at immigration as well.

As a precaution for lost or misplaced documents you carry on your person during travel, we highly recommend you keep hard and digital backup copies on your phone (either photo or PDF scan), as well as a hard copy left with your emergency contact at home. The recommended important documents to copy include, but are not limited to; your passport ID page, travel visa, the front and back of your credit card(s), the airline barcode on your luggage. This will greatly expedite getting new ones if necessary – we hope everyone will always keep travel documents close so that losing them will not be an issue.

General Health & Inoculations Information - Be Prepared!

We will share your health information with your guide. This information will be kept confidential but is very important as we want to be best prepared in case of medical emergency. 

Anti-malarial drugs are not required for any area that you visit. There are occasional reports of Dengue Fever in lower elevation areas, for which there is no vaccine. Dengue fever, Zika, and other diseases are contacted by mosquito bites so be sure to use mosquito repellant containing DEET or Picaridin. Travelers can reduce their risk of disease by protecting themselves from mosquito bites in lower elevation areas by using protective clothing.

Vaccinations: Bring copies of your up-to-date vaccination records with you. The CDC recommends that all travelers be up to date with routine vaccinations and basic travel vaccines (such as Hepatitis A and Typhoid) before traveling to any destination. Please check with your doctor for recommendations at least 4-6 weeks before departing on your trip. A helpful website for planning is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or by phone (800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4636.

Prescriptions: It is a good idea to pack any meds you take regularly in your carry-on luggage.  Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses. Bring an adequate supply of any prescription medications you use, a copy of the prescription and a list of generic names of your medicines as “back-up” in case it is necessary to purchase drugs while abroad. You’ll want to keep medications in their original, labeled containers. 

Allergies: To be prepared for environmental triggers to allergies or breathing difficulties, please bring your allergy and/or asthma medication(s).  If you have severe allergies talk to your doctor about carrying an EPI pen and notify your guides. It is also recommended to carry with you an up-to-date record of known allergies, chronic medical problems and Medic Alerts so that, if necessary, emergency treatment can be carried out without endangering your health.

Common Ailments: We recommend that you bring a travel-sized first aid kit and a supply of standard over-the-counter medications for prevention or treatment of common ailments (such as diarrhea, constipation, stomach upset, cough, congestion, head or body aches, insect bites and sunburn); as well as ointments, moisturizer, sunscreen, oral rehydration salts, band-aids, moleskin for blisters, cotton swabs, nail clippers, and tweezers, etc.

Daily Itinerary

We generally follow the published itinerary but do network with other guides and may make changes if we hear of great bird sightings or a new opportunity. The joy of our travel is tremendous flexibility, and we make every effort to do the things you particularly want to do. Your guide will keep you apprised of the next day’s schedule at each evening meal, noting what to bring and what to prepare for. Questions and/or concerns are welcome.

The pace of the trip is moderate, with some early morning departures, extensive field time and now some options for hikes. It is also easy to take it at a vacation pace! You can pace yourself within our typically active schedule.

Weather & Climate

The climate in the Lesser Antilles is tropical, and due to its proximity to the equator, is divided into two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season spans from January to early May. During this time, rainfall is minimal. The rest of the year from June to December is considered the wet season, with more regular rain showers. Temperatures ranging from 70°F to high 80s°F remains about the same year round.

Annoyances & Hazards

Mosquitoes can occur in the forests; therefore, a supply of insect repellent containing DEET is essential. At grassland or farm locations you may encounter chiggers, if so, spray your shoes with repellent, and tuck your pants into your socks, this helps a lot. When back, be sure to shower and air out your clothing. Chiggers are a part of lowland and mid-elevation habitats throughout Central and South America. Your guide should have a good read on if it has been wet enough that they are active. There can also be poisonous snakes and insects, though encountering them is rare. Do listen carefully to any advice given by your local guide. And remember the sun is strong and be prepared with proper protection.

Food & Drinks

Menus at lodges and restaurants are varied, sustainably based on the wonderful local ingredients available, and delightfully prepared in a sanitary environment. As with any case when traveling we urge you to consider what your body is used to before you eat something. Trust your common sense when consuming food and beverages. This is the best way to avoid any unwanted problems. Ask for recommendations from your hotel or refer to a guidebook such as Frommers. Meals reflect the contributions of American, European, Spanish, and local cuisines.

Bottled water will be available for field trips and drinking water is provided for you to refill a bottle. One of the many ways we strive to do our part for the environment is by trying to reduce our consumption of plastics; if convenient we appreciate if you can bring reusable water bottles. Your guide will let you know when bottled water is preferable.

Packing, Clothing & Laundry

Dress is very informal and laundry services are available for a fee at our lodges. While some people will change for dinner, it is usually just to a drier or cleaner version of what they wore during the day. Again, the climate is warm to hot, so you will be comfortable in lightweight clothing. Laundry services are available at our lodging in St Lucia and Dominica for a nominal charge.

Please, pack light. We are serious about this – we move around a lot; you just do not need much to cope with tropical life! Please do not bring anything more than you must. Lay out your hopeful things to take and then do a serious paring down! 

TRAVEL TIP: Imagine NOT getting your suitcase. Wear your most important shoes for the field and have one day’s clothing change (including a change of underwear!). And please do not pack any essential medications, or your vital optics, in your checked luggage!

Spending Money

The official currency in the Lesser Antilles is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (symbolized as XCD). We advise you carry a mix of different types of payments, such as cash, an ATM card, and a credit card. For the current exchange rate, please refer to an online converter tool like www.xe.com, or your bank. U.S. dollars in good condition (no rips or tears) are taken as a form of payment but shopping for smaller handicrafts may necessitate using local currency. If you plan to exchange cash in country, bring large U.S. bill ($50 or $100) in good condition that will give you the better rate when exchanging to local currency.

When using the ATM to withdrawal cash, keep in mind it might only accept cards from local banks or not allow cash advances on credit cards. Many U.S. banks charge a fee of $1 - $5 each time you use a foreign ATM. Others may charge you a percentage of the amount you withdraw. Check with your bank before departure. You must become familiar with how to use your ATM card and PIN number ahead of the journey.

We suggest you have more than one card available, if possible. You may want to bring more than one brand of card (VISA and Mastercard are commonly accepted; American Express is less common). You can use credit cards at lodges to pay your bar and gift tabs. Not every shop will accept every card. Some smaller shops and restaurants, or taxis require cash, so it is always a good idea to ask before making a purchase. Also, we recommend that you advise your bank or credit card company that you will be traveling abroad to avoid questions, card freezes, or charges. If you have a choice of cards, bring one with no foreign exchange fees.

Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted. They can be difficult to exchange. We do not advise you use them.

Gratuities

Tipping is optional and completely at your discretion. If you would like to show our appreciation to your guides, lodge and hotel staff or anyone associated with this tour, it is entirely appropriate. Know that they appreciate anything you care to give and of course you can do more if you wish! Lodges normally have a box for tips that the staff share, and hotels you would just tip the maids as you do at home. We hope that you will be pleased with all professional services.

Here is a standard suggestion for tipping on birding trips:

  • Birding tour guide: US $10.00 - $15.00 per day per guest
    Note: If there is more than one guide, this can be split among them, so that is a total, per person, per day
  • Tour driver if different from guide: US $5.00 - $7.00 per person/day
  • Lodge staff: US $6.00 - $10.00 per day per guest
  • Transfer (airport shuttle) driver: US $2.00 - $3.00 per person
  • Hotel & international airport bellmen: US $1.00 per suitcase

You may wish to bring small gifts for local people that you meet and enjoy (this is totally optional!). T-shirts, school supplies like pens and small notebooks, inexpensive watches and baseball caps are always popular. Your guides can pass along school supplies to a local school if you bring them. They also love any nature books/coloring books.

Cell Phones & Internet Service

If you plan on using your cell phone on this trip, please check with your wireless provider to see if your phone and service will work in your destination country. Ask for “international roaming” to be turn on your phone. Or you can buy a local SIM card at the airport and insert this in your mobile phone (just make certain your phone can accept one). Renting an international phone may also be an option.

If your phone can connect to Wi-Fi, you may be able to make voice and video calls free of charge. Please contact your cell phone provider for further details. Another option if you have access to Wi-Fi, is to use smartphone apps like Skype, WhatsApp, or Viber to send text messages, and make voice calls, or video calls. Many smartphones, tablets, or laptops come with one of these apps pre-installed or you can download for free. If bringing a laptop or tablet, get a good dustcover to protect it at all times.

Make sure if you do NOT want to use your cell phone that you turn off your cellular data. You could incur huge charges if you are not on Wi-Fi. Putting your phone in airplane mode if you mainly use it for photos will save the battery as well.

Your hotels and most local restaurants provide Wi-Fi at least in their common areas. Although it is generally a reliable service, it can be affected by adverse weather conditions due to the remote location.

Please refrain from taking or making cell phone calls in the vehicles when traveling with other passengers, unless it appears to be an emergency. This disrupts other guests, plan on cell phone call use on your own time.

Electricity

The standard in the Lesser Antilles ranges from compatible with US (100V-127V), to is 230 volts AC, which will require a converter. Plugs are set up in the A, B, C, D, and E types (see graphic below). Since we will be traveling between different islands that will have different outlets, it is suggested that you get and adapter. For more information: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/

Time

The Lesser Antilles are on Atlantic Standard Time, with no daylight savings time. Check www.timeanddate.com before leaving home for your conversion.

Questions?

Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at clientservices@naturalistjourneys or telephone at our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey!

 

Pace & Protocols +

Pace of the Tour & What to Expect You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of Read more

Pace of the Tour & What to Expect

You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of hotels (our eContact List) a few weeks before your departure. This will serve as an outline for each day and alert you to any recent changes made in the schedule or to our hotels, if needed.

Our journeys are set up to follow the rhythm of nature. Our focus is on birding and nature; we offer full, well-planned field days and often get up early for that magical time around dawn. We generally follow the published itinerary, but we stay flexible to the weather, wildlife opportunities and the interests of the group. Your guide will keep you apprised of the next day’s schedule at each evening meal, noting what to bring and what to prepare for. Questions and/or concerns are welcome.

The pace of our Naturalist Journeys tours is moderate; to fully participate you should be able to get in and out of vehicles several times a day, and walk 1-3 miles over uneven terrain. It is important to participate with a flexible attitude as adjustments may be made in our schedule to make the most of our time in the field or for other purposes at your guide's discretion. We are not a “listing” bird company that drills down on target species, but at times we do wait for those special species unique to the places we visit. During the day, we take time to stop for photos and for educational opportunities to learn about conservation projects, landscapes, and geology. We appreciate other taxa as well as birds, with mammals often the biggest draw but plants and butterflies are also very popular. Our clients often lend their own expertise to the mix.

We like to make meals a fun and memorable part of the experience, too. Breakfasts are often at hotels, and we carry snacks, fruit, and water in the vans each day. Lunches are a mix of picnics in the field (weather dependent) and a chance to dine with locals at small cafes and restaurants. For dinner, we pride ourselves in our homework to keep up with the best choices for dining, choosing restaurants with atmosphere that specialize in local foods. On occasion we keep dinner simple to go back out in the field for sunset wildlife viewing or night walks. In some remote locations, our choices are limited. If you are tired, room service for dinner may be an option you can choose.

Naturalist Journeys International Trips: Guide Role

Naturalist Journeys supports ecotourism and the development of excellent local guides. Once we know our international partners and guides well, we can send out small groups working directly with these trusted partners, adding a Naturalist Journeys guide to assist the local expert when we have a group of 6-7 or more. This helps us keep your costs down while retaining tour quality. The local guide is your main guide. You can expect your Naturalist Journeys guide to be well-researched and often they are experienced in the destination, but their role is not to be primary, it is to help to organize logistics, help you find birds, mammals, and interesting other species in the field, keep reports, help facilitate group interactions, and to keep the trip within Naturalist Journeys' style. Local guides live in the countries we travel to, know the destinations intimately, and are often the strongest force for conservation in their countries. They open many doors for us to have a rich experience.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle or in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle excursion or a guided walk. Please respect all designated smoking areas at hotels and restaurants.

Transportation

As a courtesy to each other, we ask that all travelers please rotate seating. On international trips we may all be in one small bus, on some trips we are in vans, particularly the roomy Sprinter Vans when available. Some areas require us to be in smaller 4-wheel drive or safari vehicles. Rotation allows you to sit with different drivers and alternate front and back seating.

Photo Release & Sharing

We take many group photos and will share photos with the group. And after your tour, we will organize a chance to share photos via Dropbox or Google Photos. Please note that this is our policy and if you prefer to be excluded, we need to know ahead of your tour.

By registering for this tour, you agree to grant to Naturalist Journeys and its authorized representatives’ permission to record on photography film and/or video, pictures of my participation in the tour. You further agree that any or all of the material photographed may be used, in any form, as part of any future publications, brochure, or other printed materials used to promote Naturalist Journeys, and further that such use shall be without payment of fees, royalties, special credit or other compensation.

Travel Insurance

You are traveling in remote areas. Naturalist Journeys strongly recommends you have full medical and evacuation insurance from a company such as Allianz, for all international travel. If you do not have medical coverage or evacuation coverage on your existing travel insurance policy or for some reason elected not to take that out, we advise getting an evacuation plan with Global RescueWorld Nomads, Medjet, Allianz (they can do evacuation only) or a similar company. These plans are typically $300-$400 for a year for multiple destinations. This coverage may be a part of a larger Travel Insurance policy but can also be purchased on its own.

Questions?

Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at clientservices@naturalistjourneys.com or telephone our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey.

 

Packing List +

PLEASE PACK LIGHTLY! Soft luggage is easier for us to pack in a vehicle than a Read more

PLEASE PACK LIGHTLY!

Soft luggage is easier for us to pack in a vehicle than a more rigid hard sided piece, so if you have the choice, please use your soft luggage. Be sure to have your name and address on the inside of the bag, as well as on the luggage tag on the handle. There are charter flights that are very weight restricted. It is our hope that you can pack in one suitcase that does not exceed 40 pounds – this is the tropics, so you don’t need much and consider clothes you can wash and reuse! Laundry services are available at our lodging in St Lucia and Dominica for a nominal charge.

Be sure to pack your personal medication, airline tickets, passport, binoculars, camera, and other essential items in your carry-on bag. You will want a day pack for field trips, so this is an ideal carry-on. Please reconfirm your airline’s baggage weight and size restrictions about a week or so before departure.

In general, the weather during your stay should be humid and warm with highs of 85°F and lows of 75°F. You may wish to check your favorite weather website closer to your departure to best predict what the weather will be on your adventure.

Dress is comfortable and informal throughout the trip. Dressing in layers is the best way to be comfortable. Lightweight long sleeve shirts and long pants make ideal field clothing, as they provide more protection from sun, insects and vegetation. But if you like to wear them by all means bring some shorts. Choose clothing you don’t mind getting dirty – and that are comfortable and easy.

Note on clothing colors and insect repellent: We recommend muted colors of tan, brown, khaki, grey or green, as they are spotted less easily than white or bright colors, though camouflage clothing is not recommended, and in some countries, not legal to wear. It is possible to purchase field clothing permeated with insect repellent such as the Craghoppers Insect Shield collection. Another approach is to purchase Permethrin spray (online or from REI) to treat your field clothing and socks before your departure.

Clothing & Gear

  • Lightweight long pants (2-3 pair)
  • Shorts (optional)
  • Lightweight long sleeve shirts (2-3)
  • T-shirts or equivalent (1 per day – remember you may be buying some there anyway!)
  • Comfortable clothes for evening (a cleaner version of your field clothes or a skirt, sundress, etc.)
  • Personal underclothing and pajamas
  • Socks – lightweight and easy to wash and dry
  • Comfortable walking shoes (such as tennis shoes)
  • Lightweight hiking boots. Please note that forest trails will be on uneven terrain and may be muddy – good tread and support are essential
  • Sandals for evenings, travel days, and to wear on boats (optional, Teva style are great)
  • Lightweight jacket; fleece fabric is ideal
  • Lightweight raincoat or poncho
  • Bathing suit
  • Hat with broad brim
  • Bandana (gel bandanas work well to keep you cool)
  • Field vest (optional), a great source is Big Pockets

Equipment & Miscellaneous

  • Airline tickets or e-ticket verification
  • Passport, visa (if required), travel insurance info, money & credit cards.
  • A secure pouch to carry the items above on your person at all times (such as a secure, under-clothing document pouch)
  • As a backup: copies of all the above (phone and/or paper) packed in a separate location than on your person, plus a set given to your emergency contact at home as a backup. For passport, copy of the  ID and entry stamp pages.
  • Small daypack or fanny pack for carrying your field gear
  • Binoculars
  • Camera and extra batteries/battery chargers, film or digital chips, lens cleaning supplies and your instruction manual (optional)
  • Umbrella – compact and not brightly colored (a great option for occasional rain as you can keep using your binoculars)
  • Small daypack or fanny pack for carrying your field gear
  • Walking stick – we find many travelers appreciate a walking stick on trails; recommend collapsible models that will fit in your suitcase (optional)
  • Small flashlight with fresh batteries. Please note that if you like to read at night, lighting in other countries is often poor in the rooms and you may want to bring a book light, headlamp or flashlight for this purpose.
  • Alarm clock
  • Sunscreen/lip balm with SPF
  • Sunglasses with neck strap
  • Insect repellent (something containing DEET; for chiggers, sulphur powder if available)
  • Toilet articles
  • Spotting scope and tripod (optional)
  • Tablet or laptop for personal use and/or transferring photos, USB cord and charger (optional)
  • Chargers for cameras and/or phones
  • Electrical converter and adapter plugs
  • Water bottle (or plan to refill one purchased on location. If you’re buying a new one, look into water bottles with a built-in filter – like LifeStraw)
  • Notebook or journal and pen (optional)
  • Field guides (optional)
  • Sink plug (often not available, a flat universal one is easiest to use)
  • Washcloth (may not always be available)
  • Earplugs (if hotel noise or roommates snoring may bother you; these are optional)
  • Laundry soap if you plan to hand wash articles of clothing
  • Rechargeable power bank (optional)
  • Steri-Pen or other UV water treatment device to help cut down on the use of plastic bottles (optional)

WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TRAVELING WITH PRECIOUS OR VALUABLE JEWELRY – don’t tempt anyone and don’t bring things you’d regret losing - your mind will be at ease!

Medical & First Aid Items

  • Heath insurance and vaccination information (kept in personal pouch with other travel documents)
  • Personal medications (and copy of vital prescriptions)
  • Personal first aid kit and medications for general ailments (Imodium or Lomotil, Antihistamine cream or tablets, Eye drops, etc.)
  • Motion sickness preventatives, if likely to be needed on bus, van drives, etc.
  • Copy of eyeglass prescription, copy of medical prescriptions, and any medical alerts
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses or contacts
  • Band-Aids, moleskin to protect against blisters
  • Antibacterial hand soap, small vial

 

Suggested Reading List +

There are many titles of interest for the Lesser Antilles; the following are a few Read more

There are many titles of interest for the Lesser Antilles; the following are a few that we have enjoyed that can get you started.

Top PIcks

Birds of the West Indies (Princeton Field Guides)

Merlin App – Caribbean Pack. A phone-based birding app from Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. Before departing the U.S., download the app for free, then from within the app, download the “pack” for Caribbean.

Field Guides

Birds of the West Indies James Bond, author; Don L. Eckleberry, illustrator

Birds of the West Indies, Princeton Illustrated Checklists

Birds of the Lesser Antilles 

Wildlife of the Caribbean 

Birds of the Eastern Caribbean

History & Culture

The Lesser Antilles in the Age of European Expansion 

Landscapes and Landforms of the Lesser Antilles 

A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados

Insight Guides Caribbean the Lesser Antilles

A History of Antigua: The Unsuspected Isle 

Grenada: A History of Its People 

Saint Lucia: Portrait of an Island

Your guide will also have a selection of reference books and materials for participants to share.

As an Amazon Associate, Naturalist Journeys earns from qualifying purchases, and may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page at no added cost to you.

 

Useful Links +

Learn more about your destination at these external websites, carefully researched for you. Read more

General

Lesser Antilles

Saint Vincent

Saint Lucia

Dominica

Nature, Wildlife & Biology

Lesser Antilles Avibase Checklist

Search iNaturalist to explore flora and fauna of the island country destination

Ecology of Lesser Antilles

Lesser Antillean Dry Forest

Conservation

Critically Endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana

Article “The Lesser Antilles, True Laboratories for the Study of Forest Systems…”

Valuing and protecting biodiversity in the Caribbean

Geology & Geography

Geologic History of Lesser Antilles

The Lesser Antilles Volcanic Chain

Geography of the Lesser Antilles

History & Culture

Brief History of the Lesser Antilles

History - Select the Lesser Antilles Island of your choice

World Culture Encyclopedia – Search to explore the culture of your destination country!

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Lucia

Dominica

Samples of Cuisine of the Lesser Antilles

Music of the Lesser Antilles

Helpful Travel Websites

Arrival – Hewanorra International (UVF) in St. Lucia

Departure – Argyle International (SVD) in St. Vincent

National Passport Information Center

U.S. Department of State International Travel Information

Homeland Security Real ID Act

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Canada Travel Advice and Advisories

Travel Health Pro (UK) General Site

Foreign Exchange Rates

Electricity and Plugs

ATM Locator

Date, Time, and Holidays

 


Photo credits: BANNERS: Brown Booby (NJ Stock), St. Lucia (NJ Stock), Green Turtle (Ryan Chenery), Purple-throated Carib (NJ Stock), Scenic (Ryan Chenery) THUMBNAILS: Barbados Green Monkey (NJ Stock), Brown Booby (NJ Stock), Antillean Crested Hummingbird (NJ Stock), Golden Warbler (NJ Stock), St. Vincent Parrot (NJ Stock), Lesser Antillean Flycatcher (NJ Stock), Sperm Whale (NJ Stock), Green-throated Carib (NJ Stock)

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